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Sert for homework Mon 7th Jan 05. Yr 11 English


The definitions below are taken in sequence from the Literary Terms links. Frankly, they are pretty average. I will provide a more effective update on this page after 8.00pm.

The time and place in which a story unfolds. The setting in Act 1, scene 1 of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," for example, is a public square in Verona, Italy. A drama may contain a single setting, or the setting may change from scene to scene.

Setting. The total environment for the action of a fictional work. Setting includes time period (such as the 1890's), the place (such as downtown Warsaw), the historical milieu (such as during the Crimean War), as well as the social, political, and perhaps even spiritual realities. The setting is usually established primarily through description, though narration is used also.

"The background against which action takes place. The elements making up a setting are: (1) the geographical location, its topography, scenery, and such physical arrangements as the location of the windows and doors in a room; (2) the occupations and daily manner of living of the characters; (3) the time or period in which the action takes place, for example, epoch in history or season of the year; (4) the general environment of the characters, for example, religious, mental, moral, social, and emotional conditions" ( Source :Harmon & Holman, 477).

The place(s) and time(s) of the story, including the historical period, social milieu of the characters, geographical location, descriptions of indoor and outdoor locales, etc.

Setting (set-ting): the time, place, physical details, and circumstances in which a situation occurs. Settings include the background, atmosphere or environment in which characters live and move, and usually include physical characteristics of the surroundings. Settings enables the reader to better envision how a story unfolds by relating necessary physical details of a piece of literature. A setting may be simple or elaborate, used to create ambiance, lend credibility or realism, emphasize or accentuate, organize, or even distract the reader. Settings in the Bible are simplistic. In the book of Genesis, we read about the creation of the universe and the lives of the descendants of Adam. Great detail is taken in documenting the lineage, actions, and ages of the characters at milestones in their lives, yet remarkably little detail is given about physical characteristics of the landscape and surroundings in which events occurred. In Genesis 20, we learn that because of her beauty, Sarah’s identity is concealed to prevent the death of her husband, Abraham. Yet, we have no description of Sarah or Abraham’s hair, eye or skin color, height, weight, physical appearance, or surroundings. Detailed settings that were infrequent in some ancient writings like the Bible are common in today’s literature. In recent literature, settings are often described in elaborate detail, enabling the reader to vividly envision even imaginary characters and actions like the travels of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Settings have a way of drawing the reader into a piece of literature while facilitating understanding of the characters and their actions. Understanding the setting is useful because it enables us to see how an author captures the attention of the reader by painting a mental picture using words. See Literature, An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Kate Endriga, Student, University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Setting (JW)

The setting involves the place and time of the incidents in the story. The location, the social environment, and period of history form an essential, element in the short story. Within this setting characters may move, initiating some action within the text. In addition the setting will construct some feeling in the reader in relation to place, character, time and action.

WHERE : place specific (classroom); place general (Ireland)

WHEN: time specific (midnight); time general or era (nineteenth century)

WHO ; the characters who may be introduced;

WHAT : some action may be established providing direction for th text to move in;

ATMOSPHERE : this is the mood or feeling created in the reader in relation to some aspect of setting.

EMOTIONAL LANDSCAPE : Often the setting of a story acts as an emotional landscape. What this means is that the setting may mirror (or may directly contrast, to highlight) the main character's emotional state. As such the setting embodies feelings we the reader may attach to  the character.

Thus, the setting can play an active part in the short story.

  • It can time, place, character and action;
  • it can mirror, establish or influence a character's emotions, ideas or actions;
  • it can create a sense of mood and feeling (atmosphere). This atmosphere often plays a significant role in developing character, action and theme.

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